• How is knowledge power?
• How do we benefit from learning
different points of view?
• Why would those in control of a society
want to suppress knowledge? Why or
how are ideas dangerous?
• How do books represent us?
• Is there an idea you would be willing to
• Imagine a world where everything is sped up,
where bill boards are five times bigger than
ours because the speed limit is so high, where
everything you see from a car is a blur, where
pedestrians don‟t exist.
• This is a future populated by non-readers and
non-thinkers, people with no sense of their
history, where a totalitarian government has
banned the written word.
• Bradbury‟s work
of thinking and
• Ray Bradbury was born to a
Swedish immigrant mother
and a telephone lineman
• His paternal grandfather
and great-grandfather were
• He encountered a wide
variety of entertainment
media: books, comics, Ray Bradbury 1976
movies, theatre, museums,
magic shows and circuses.
• As an adolescent he was physically and
• At 13, his family moved from Waukegan,
Illinois to Los Angeles where he was harassed
by the class bully.
• His work wasn‟t published in high school
because his style was unconventional
In His Own Words
“Ihope…to be remembered as a lover of the
whole experience of life. And I think it‟s all
in my writing, but you‟ve got to read it all to
get that. And if you could write that on my
tombstone, you know: „here‟s a teller of joy,
who wanted to celebrate things…even the
dark things because they have meaning.‟
Then I would be content with that. But no
specific things beyond that—just the joy of
being alive for another day, and having been
able to celebrate a particular sense of that
day you didn‟t celebrate the day before.”
•Set in the 24th century
•Books are dangerous and
•Most people accept this
reality and are happy plugged
into their technology where
they do not have to think
•Guy Montag, a book burning
fireman, is the protagonist
“Most often, the whole house must be destroyed.
Sometimes the people in the house choose to die
with their books” (Bradbury 72).
•How dangerous is
•What kind of damage
can an oppressive
•What long term affects
do loss of creativity and
freedom of thought
The bitter irony
• Fahrenheit 451 has been
banned in high schools
across the country
• You decide why this novel
has been banned and if
you feel that this is
Not all books that are challenged in this way are banned,
but some are. It depends on the community, and their
policies on censorship.
Social Influences: Anti-
intellectualism of Nazi Germany
• Cold War Political Atmosphere
• By 1946 the United Nations viewed the
Soviet Union as hostile
• Most Americans condoned communism
• By 1950, the US became concerned with
threat of Communism
• Korean War
• Joseph McCarthy, a republican senator
of WI attracted headlines with his
charges of communist infiltration in
• He charged 200 people in the State
• Vietnam War
• In 1956 South Vietnam refuses
referendum to unify with North Vietnam
and guerilla war begins
Text to Self:
• Average time per week the American child
ages 2-17 spends watching television: 19
hours 40 minutes
• Percentage of children ages 8-16 who have
a TV in their bedroom: 56%
• Number of TV commercials view by
American children a year: 20,000
• Age by which children can develop brand
loyalty: 2 years old
Nielson Media Research 2000, McNeal, 1992. Cited by National Institute on Media and the Family
The Time Cost of TV
• According to the A.C. Nielsen
Co. the average American
watches 3 hours and 46
minutes of TV each day (that's
more than 52 days of nonstop
TV-watching per year).
• By the age of 65 the average
American will have spent
nearly nine years glued to the
• Parents spend 38.5 minutes
per week in meaningful
conversation with their
children is 38.5.
HOW MUCH VIOLENCE IS
THERE REALLY ON T.V.?
• The average American child sees
200,000 violent acts on television
by the time he or she reaches the
age of 18.
• Eighty percent of Hollywood
executives believe there is a link
between TV violence and real-life
TELEVISION: IT'S NOT
JUST ABOUT SHOWS
• An average child sees 30,000
TV commercials in a year.
• By the time s/he reaches the
age of 65, the average American
will have seen two million TV
Personalizing the Issue
• How important is entertainment in
• How much of your time do you spend
• Is entertainment addictive? Can it
serve the same purposes as drugs or
• Beatty suggests that mindless
entertainment can weaken or destroy
the mind. Is there evidence of this?
• How does entertainment affect our
ability to think, learn and
• What adverse behaviors result from
stress, pressure and speed in our
lives? How do addictions relate?
Does this apply to us?
• Where do you envision our
society going from here?
What will we look like in
another 50-100 years?
• Will we be better or worse
off than we are now?
• “The remarkable
thing about TV is
that it permits
people to laugh at
the same joke and
still feel lonely”
Fahrenheit 451 is one author‟s
idea of how these changes (and
choices we make) can lead to a
very different kind of world. As we
begin to read, look for ways that
Montag‟s society is different from
our own. What aspects of his
world do you find strange or
• “Stuff your eyes with
wonder. Live as if
you‟d drop dead in
ten seconds. See
the world. It‟s more
fantastic than any
dream made up or
paid for in factories.”